The Delegations Of The Colombian Government And The ELN Meet For The First Time In Bogotá

For the first time, the peace delegations of the Government of Colombia and those of the ELN meet in Bogotá. This meeting takes place between the fourth and fifth cycle of peace negotiations .

Senator Iván Cepeda (i) and Otty Patiño (d), members of the Colombian Government delegation, and Pablo Beltrán

Photo: EFE/ Mauricio Dueñas Castañeda


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Leer en español: Las delegaciones del Gobierno colombiano y del ELN se encuentran por primera vez en Bogotá

The delegations of the Colombian Government and the guerrilla of the National Liberation Army (ELN) met this Tuesday in Bogotá in a first plenary session, which is held between the fourth and fifth cycle of peace negotiations.

This was reported by the head of the ELN delegation, Israel Ramírez Pineda, alias "Pablo Beltrán", who made his second public appearance in Bogotá in 30 years in a press appearance today.

"For the peace dialogue table it is a very important reason to be able to hold this meeting, minutes before the plenary session of the dialogue table is going to meet in Bogotá for the first time," said Beltrán, who assured that "between cycle and cycle "It has been declared that the board has to meet permanently."

This means that there will be a permanent dialogue, but the temporary cycles are maintained and the fifth is expected to resume in Mexico next month, since the ELN says that there are still no guarantees for its commanders to remain in Bogotá.

"The Government considers that there are already conditions for the table to be permanent, we consider that the process does not have the maturity to function permanently in Bogotá," said Beltrán, who still fears for his safety and that of the 19 members who They make up the guerrilla delegation, despite the fact that the Government does consider that there is "maturity" for them to remain in Bogotá.

Session in Bogotá

In this session at the UN headquarters in Bogotá, three topics are discussed that have already been advanced in other rounds of dialogue: the permanent functioning of the table, how to bring what was agreed upon at the table to the territories and the participation process.

In that sense, several representatives of the table have traveled in recent weeks to different "critical zones" , which are where they consider that there are the most massacres, killings of social leaders or humanitarian crises.

Read also: Colombia: Assemblies To Define The Role Of Civil Society In The Peace Agreement With ELN Began

These are the "humanitarian relief" zones proposed during the first cycle in Caracas, where the aim is to "address the population's complaints regarding the humanitarian crisis and ensure that the ceasefire brings the relief it promised," Beltrán alleged.

But the idea, pointed out the head of the Government delegation, Otty Patiño, is not to "humanize the war, but to put an end to the conflict", that is, they do not want bringing relief or humanitarian aid to these regions to be "to perpetuate the war (…) but to put an end to the conflict".

Prevention of dissent

This approach to the regions is a way, according to the second in command of the ELN, to socialize the agreements reached at the negotiating table to the communities and also to the guerrilla fronts.

"Every time there is an agreement, the fronts are informed and a commitment is made to comply. It is the way in which all the ELN structures are informed and participate," stressed Beltrán, who pointed out that this is the "antidote" so that in the future dissidence can form. Because dissidence, he stated, "is a plague for the country."

The delegations will meet again in Mexico to continue with the negotiations in which, for the moment, agreements have been reached on humanitarian relief, a 180-day bilateral ceasefire that began on August 3, and also participation, for which About thirty meetings are being held with society to articulate what it will be like and what their proposals are for the final agreement.

Three points of the six of the agreement remain ahead, some tricky ones such as the end of the conflict , where they will have to debate how the guerrilla will disarm – if there is disarmament – and accountability with justice for violations of the law. Humanitarian International (IHL) of both parties during the conflict.

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